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Messi lived up to the hype about himself: with ten goals and three assists in just eight games, he made a sensational start at Inter Miami. Less than a month later, in a pink and black jersey, he led the previously bottom side to their first cup win in the League Cup final against Nashville SC. For Messi, this is now his 44th trophy, making him the player with the most trophies in football history.
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Messi-mania is most evident in the skyrocketing ticket prices: tickets for Saturday’s August 26 game between Inter Miami and the New York Red Bulls range from $405 to $2,500 on the Red Bulls’ website.
By comparison, you can usually go to a Red Bulls game for about $20 or more. Messi games are sold out in minutes everywhere.
When tickets become more expensive for fans, others benefit. “MLS Season Pass” subscriptions from streaming provider Apple TV have more than doubled since July. With a subscription, fans can watch all Inter Miami games for $12.99-$14.99 per month. The streaming provider acquired the exclusive broadcast rights for USD 2.5 billion. Messi also has a stake in Apple’s subscription revenue. In addition, Apple TV is already planning a second documentary series about Messi, which will tell the story of his recent transfer.
Meanwhile, Adidas, with whom Messi has already signed a lifetime contract and is a partner of Inter Miami, is happy about the overwhelming rush for Messi gear and cannot keep up with orders.
In the United States, where sports like baseball, American football and basketball had previously dominated, Messi took soccer craze to a new level. That’s not just reflected on the business side, says MLS spokesman Dan Courtemanche:
Messi is particularly popular with a young and diverse audience and also attracts a large Latin American community in Miami, the unofficial Latin American capital of the United States. In September, Messi and his team are in the final of the US Open Cup – a chance for a second trophy. “Football’s time has come,” predicts Don Gordmanch, “but the best is yet to come”.
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